While cleaning your kitchen or bathroom one day, you may have discovered large, dark brown ants crawling out of your woodwork. If so, you may have a small carpenter ant infestation. If not taken care of early on, this variety of ants can cause a lot of structural damage to your home. Use the following three-step guide for getting rid of them using homemade treatments.
Step 1: Locate The Carpenter Ants' Nests
The first step to ridding your home of carpenter ants is to find any nests inside your house. Because the ants prefer soft, moist wood, first check areas where you may have water leaks, such as under your bathroom or kitchen sink. If you find any wood that appears wet, look closely at it to see if there are any holes or burrows. You may even see the ants crawling in and out of them.
Another place you may find nests is inside insulation boards made from plastic fibers. The fibers are soft enough to give the ants easy access to the boards, while being rigid enough to support their nests' infrastructures.
As you inspect your home, carry a pen and a sheet of paper with you. As you find the nests, write down their locations for use in the second step, which uses traps to kill existing ants. Also, jot down any areas that you think may be ideal for future nests. You can use this information for the third step when you use your homemade repellent spray.
Step 2: Set Up Homemade Traps Using Borax And Sugar
Once you have located any existing ant nests, set up traps made from borax and sugar. The sugar serves as a bait to lure the carpenter ants to the traps where the insects ingest borax, which poisons the insects and dries them from the inside out. Because this is a slow process, any sugar they take back with them to the nest can also potentially kill the young larvae and the queen.
Before you make your traps, make sure you take necessary precautions to protect yourself, children and pets. Borax is a caustic substance that is highly irritating to skin and eyes. While handling the powder, wear plastic gloves and safety goggles. Because the chemical is highly poisonous not only to ants but also to humans and pets, make sure you place them out of the reach of your children, dogs and cats.
To make each trap, lay out a three-inch square of aluminum foil, and fold the ends up a half of an inch on each side to form a cup. Then, mix together a teaspoon each of sugar and borax. Place it as close to one of the ants' nests as possible, then repeat for each nest. Check the traps daily to see if they need refilling.
Once you have set all of your traps, go on to the next step.
Step 3: Spray Homemade Ant-Repellent Spray Made From Vinegar And Peppermint Oil
After you have set traps to take care of your current ant problem, this step involves spraying an ant-repellent spray around any openings to your home, as well as to potential nesting sites, as you noted in step one.
The spray uses white distilled vinegar and peppermint oil, two ingredients that smell awful to the ants. If you do not particularly like the smell of vinegar yourself, the peppermint oil helps hide the smell from your nose. Plus, the vinegar's perceivable smell to you dissipates over time while still being perceptible to the ants.
In a plastic spray bottle, mix together two cups of vinegar and 20 drops of peppermint oil. Replace the nozzle, then shake vigorously. Liberally spray any wood or walls you think ants may invade. Repeat once a week for a month.
After using the above guide for a month, you should start to see a sharp decline in the number of carpenter ants you see in your home. However, if your efforts do not seem to be working, or you believe you have a large infestation, you may want to contact a pest control company like Fowler Pest Control to have them inspect your home and discuss available solutions for getting rid of these unwanted, destructive insects.